As part of Penn Libraries’ mission to support arts and design communities at Penn and in Philadelphia, Digital Strategies Librarian Coral Salomón is leading the Fisher Fine Arts Library’s web archiving project. Salomón approaches the project as she would any collection building project. Each potential site is carefully reviewed for inclusion, and the site is harvested to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine using the Archive’s subscription service, Archive-It. This tool allows Salomón to use various web crawlers (automated bots that capture live web content) to capture the website. Storing content on the Internet Archive, an openly accessible platform for digital content in multiple formats, means that the preserved sites are immediately available to the public.
The project collects fine arts and historic preservation sites, the sites of small artist collectives, artists and gallery blogs, historic preservation resources, and the portals of local galleries. Salomón is also collaborating with the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) to preserve their exhibition sites. Ephemerality is a key component of websites, especially those created by small and independent organizations. The Fisher Fine Arts Library is preserving these sites to avoid a gap in Philadelphia’s historical record and the history of local art and artists.
In addition to building a digitally based collection and taking the steps necessary to preserve its long-term integrity, Salomón is working with students to develop their web-archiving skills so that they can archive their own work. Recently, she gave a digital archaeology lecture for graduate students on preserving sites with 3D content and offered workshops on website sustainability and archiving. Salomón also looks forward to working with Philadelphia’s artistic community to offer practical recommendations for personal archiving by collaborating with the organizations represented in the web archive.
This fall, Salomón offered workshops on web archiving and plans to offer them again this spring. Interested in registering? Check our workshops calendar and look for announcements this semester.